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Never As Good As the First Time
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Never As Good As the First Time

4.8 5
by Mari Walker

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For years Samai Collins has been a faithful Christian, devoted wife and loving mother. But suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a nasty divorce from her minister husband and struggling to find a job, with almost no work skills, in order to support her three children. As Samai tries to get back on her feet, loneliness and the deep longing for a man's touch


For years Samai Collins has been a faithful Christian, devoted wife and loving mother. But suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a nasty divorce from her minister husband and struggling to find a job, with almost no work skills, in order to support her three children. As Samai tries to get back on her feet, loneliness and the deep longing for a man's touch cause her to stumble in her spiritual beliefs.

Then an old high school crush reappears and Samai's life takes a wild new turn. She is seduced completely by Zane Blackmon's passion and zest for life and soon finds herself being led down a dark path that she never knew existed. An underworld of drugs threatens her life and the lives of her three children. But is love...and just a little bit of faith enough to save them all?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Mari Walker's fresh new voice brings an era to life with a style as enthralling as it is entertaining.” —Solomon Jones, Essence bestselling author of C.R.E.A.M.

Never As Good As The First Time is a fascinating novel...Readers will no doubt have a hard time putting this intriguing book down.” —Books2Mention Magazine

Publishers Weekly

Debut novelist Walker presents a tedious chronicle of heroine Samai Collins's postdivorce escapades with sex and drugs. After splitting up with her husband, Samai is lonely and misses sex. In this vulnerable state, she is taken in by a golden-tongued ne'er-do-well named Zane, who leads her down a primrose path to perdition. The character development is thin, and some scenes important to the plot seem totally implausible, such as when Samai is fired on trumped-up charges and given no opportunity to defend herself. The sex scenes, while passionate, are clunky and risibly trite: "his tongue touched my 'jewel,' which sent a hot electrical jolt to my brain." The novel does dabble in deeper themes that may resonate with spiritual seekers: Samai is restless and wrestles with her identity as an individual after her divorce. Her struggles to do what she thinks she should do, rather than what she wants to do, are moving. But while Samai's tortured relationship with the church constitutes a major theme of the novel, what's at stake in her spiritual peregrinations is never made clear. Readers who make it to the end will find an inspiring conclusion that seems to come out of nowhere. Fans of African-American Christian fiction will fare better elsewhere. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Samai Collins is a minister's wife whose life unravels after a painful divorce. Lost, Samai gets involved with an old boyfriend, whose lifestyle is dramatically different than hers. He leads her down a dangerous path that threatens her faith and life. This debut novel is recommened for African American and CF collections.

—Tamara Butler

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.68(d)

Read an Excerpt

Never As Good As The First Time
In the beginning, Cain slew his brother Abel and destroyed his ability to think and reason forever preventing him from being all that he was meant to be.

Many centuries later, coCaine slew the brothers' Ability and destroyed their thinking and reasoning forever preventing them from being all they were meant to be...
Part I: Sinking Sand


The room was dark and I was on my hands and knees, naked, digging at the floorboards with my bare hands. The lone thought in my mind was finding a rock that maybe someone had hidden in the little crevice where the floorboard and the floor met. I couldn't get it out of my head that there could be a little piece of crack hidden there. I knew that it had once been a crack house before I had moved in and there had to have been a lot of ballers and shot callers in and out of here night and day for years. They could have hidden some. Some long-neglected corner of my mind knew that I was being ridiculous and that I wouldn't find anything. A long- forgotten, far away voice that sounded like mine was telling me to stop, to get up off my hands and knees, but that driving, all- consuming need to have another blast, to have "Scotty beam me up" just one more time was keeping me captive, naked on my knees.

I raked my hand across the crevice one last time and felt something sharp slice across my fingers. I jerked my hand away and peered at it in the darkness, trying to assess the damage. The pain was immediate and intense; I could feel more than see the blood starting to trickle down my fingers from the open gash across the tips. I had been right about one thing, this had once been a hidingplace for crack. I had just found the still sharp razor blades embedded in the crevices that had once protected it.

I sat there on the floor for a long time, still naked and bleeding, not really caring if the bleeding stopped or not. In fact an idea was forming in my head that bleeding to death wouldn't be such a bad idea. I could get a razor blade from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom and open another gash on my wrists and let the blood from my fingertips mingle with the blood from my wrists and together they might drown the life out of me. But that nagging little voice would not be stilled. That voice of reason that had once been mine. And for about the 100th time it was asking me what was I doing here? What in Hell had brought me to this? I started to cry. Dear Jesus where are you? Help me Oh God, please help me out of this pit I've dug for myself!

But I was down so deep, I wasn't sure that even Jesus could reach me.

Meet the Author

Mari Walker spends her spare time freelance writing, editing, and advising aspiring writers on creative writing techniques. Mari resides in Ohio where she is currently working on her next novel.

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Never As Good As the First Time 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree that the cover is not indicative of the type of story this is. The story is action packed, and the message strong.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great read! You know you have a good book when you start reading, keep reading while you're cooking dinner for your family, keep reading while you take a bath, keep reading when you go to bed, keep reading all night even though you know you should go to sleep because you have to get up and go to work in the morning but you don't care because you need to find out what going to happen next! LOLLOLLOL! I read this book in one day! It is just that good! Look forward to reading more from this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the church house to the crack house, Mari Walker's debut novel is the classic tale of â¿¿a good girl gone badâ¿ . The cover makes the book look like a love story, but that's not the case. The reader follows the main character, Samai Collins, as she gets drafted into the crack epidemic of the mid- to late-eighties. Samai weds a minister of questionable values in her early twenties. She soon finds herself separated after six years of marriage, struggling to make sense of what went wrong and how to deal with her tenacious need for intimacy. The most important thing that Samai must do is find a job to financially support her three children. A church member suggests seeking a job in the hardware store where he is employed. She gets the job, and her schedule includes long hours. Worst of all, she is required to work Sundays, thereby missing the one thing that has been keeping her stable â¿¿ going to church. While at work Samai has a chance encounter with Zane, a person she had a high school crush on. He was bad in high school, and he's worse now. Samai catches Zane at a time where he is an occassional cocaine sniffer and not yet a hopeless junkie. Although Samai and Zane are only separated from their spouses, Zane manages to convince Samai not only into adulterous sex but also drug use. Everything is telling Samai to leave Zane alone: the weird dreams, the fact that her two little boys blatantly dislike Zane, the fact that her involvement with Zane breaches the Christian values which are the foundation of her spiritual existence. Curiosity develops into the utter destruction. What starts as a â¿¿bumpâ¿ of cocaine with Zane turns into freebasing cocaine and naturally progresses into an unshakable crack habit. Samai gets her divorce, loses jobs left and right eventually winding up on public assistance. 'Never As Good As The First Time' is so interesting because it shows exactly how that relative, that friend, that business associate can go from heading in the right direction to crackhead in a few short months. Usually, the junkie is the nefarious supporting character in most urban lit novels. Author Mari Walker gives the reader a character that is simultaneously pitiful and despicable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book on Saturday around noon and I read it straight through until about one am when I was finished. It was one of those books you hate for it to be over! I lived this story with the characters and felt what the lead character Samai felt her struggles as well as her victories. Can't wait for your next book!